I’ve just returned from India where I visited the Bandhavgarh National Park Tiger Reserve, as a guest of the delightful Junglemantra resort, right on the edge of the park’s buffer zone and close to the core area. The park is home to a great deal of wildlife including what is probably India’s highest concentration of wild tigers.
Hosts Sheilin and Rhea are effusively enthusiastic and very well-informed about the abundant wildlife – all sorts of birds, jackals, wild boar, leopards, spotted deer, sambar deer, monkeys, peacocks – on their doorstep. Sheilin is a keen wildlife photographer himself and was great company on the drives I took in the park.
The couple also do a lot of good NGO work in the nearby villages, where they arrange health clinics at the local school, for example. In their own words: “It is our policy to provide training and employment opportunities to local villages thereby reducing the dependence on the forest resources. We also support the local village school with books and teaching aids. At Junglemantra, we believe in sustainable eco-tourism, where tourism is for the forest and its denizens.”
My first evening started with a frenetic but exciting search in the dark for a tiger that had been feeding on a ‘kill’ a few hundred metres from the resort entrance! We didn’t find the tiger then, but I had some great sightings over the next few days of a mother and her three cubs. I was there during the pre-monsoon hot season, when the vegetation is dry and the animals make frequent visits to the watering holes in the park.
If you want to see tigers in India – and there are only a couple of thousand left – Bandhavgarh should be top of your list, and Junglemantra is hard to beat as a base – good food, comfortable bamboo huts, a nice lounge area, and expansive grounds that include a small lake frequented by lots of birds. Here are a few tiger shots to whet your appetite. .
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Thanks for dropping by!